Around Memorial Day, I did a post on “Taking a Knee,” relating to NFL players’ demonstrations during the national anthem, and it engendered as much response – pro and con, from people on both sides for whom I have the highest regard — as any note I’ve entered thus far.
With so much in our nation and the Catholic Church worthy of discussion, I enter this now only because of an op-ed published yesterday on NBC News by former NFL player Nate Boyer, a six-year Army veteran and Green Beret with tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Perhaps all but me are already aware of this, but Colin Kaepernick’s decision to take a knee during the national anthem as his manner for protesting police brutality toward African-American males arose as a result of a discussion with Mr. Boyer. Apparently, the first week that Mr. Kaepernick staged his protest, he had sat on the bench during the national anthem, and Mr. Boyer had taken him to task for his apparent disrespect for the nation and our service men and women. Messrs. Kaepernick and Boyer had their discussion not long thereafter. I found this quote attributed to Mr. Boyer, in which he described the players’ exchange after he understood what Mr. Kaepernick was actually intending to protest by his gesture:
“I expressed to him, maybe there’s a different way of demonstrating, where you’re showing more respect for those who laid down their lives for what that flag and anthem stand for. I suggested kneeling, because people kneel to pray; we’ll kneel in front of a fallen brother’s grave.”
Mr. Boyer makes clear that he disagrees with what Mr. Kaepernick did, but supports Mr. Kaepernick’s right to do it. A link to his recent op-ed is posted below.